President Joe Biden has had more than his share of heartbreak and tragedy.Most Americans are aware of his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and all of her accomplishments, which include being an author, a college professor, and serving eight years as the second lady during the Obama administration.
However, not everyone is aware that Joe was previously married before he and Jill tied the knot in 1977.
So, who was the first Mrs. Biden?
Neilia Hunter Biden was born in 1942 in New York. She was born to a family of means. She attended the preparatory school Penn Hall and graduated in 1960.
She then attended Syracuse University where she earned a bachelor’s degree. She met Joe while she was still attending college while they were both on spring break in Nassau.
Neilia graduated college and pursued a career as an English teacher and Joe, now her husband completed law school and followed his political ambitions. After marrying Joe, she changed her political affiliation to Democrat. When Joe ran for Senate in 1972, she became his closest advisor and was often referred to as the “brains” behind the Biden operation.
The Bidens went on to have three children, sons Beau and Hunter and one daughter, Naomi, who they nicknamed “Amy.”
In 1972, one week before Christmas, all three children were in the car with their mother when they were involved in a car accident. Only Beau and Hunter survived the crash.
While running for president, Biden recalled getting the phone call that changed his life forever.
“While I was in Washington hiring staff, I got a phone call,” he recounted. “My wife and three children were Christmas shopping. A tractor-trailer broadsided them and killed my wife and killed my daughter.”
Hunter and Beau were rushed to the hospital with serious injuries. Neilia and 13-month-old Amy died at the scene.
Days after his wife and daughter’s death, the now single father, was sworn in as senator in the Wilmington hospital where both Hunter and Beau being treated. Joe was devastated by his loss but found the strength to carry on because his two boys needed him to be strong for them.
“Many people have gone through things like that,” he stated during a commencement speech he gave at Yale in 2015. “But because I had the incredibly good fortune of an extended family, grounded in love and loyalty, imbued with a sense of obligation imparted to each of us, I not only got help.”
Joe says that by focusing on his sons he was able to find his redemption.
Biden was 30 when he met Jill, who was a college student. At the time Joe was still struggling to overcome the loss of his wife and baby girl.
Joe Biden says that he had no interest in dating at the time, but that when he first saw Jill that quickly changed.
“I fell in love with her when I saw her,” he said in an interview several years ago.
Jill shares that she was smitten with Joe, but not immediately. She was used to dating college boys so the thought of dating a senator with two small children was intimidating.
“I was a senior, and I had been dating guys in jeans and clogs and T-shirts, he came to the door, and he had a sport coat and loafers, and I thought, ‘God, this is never going to work, not in a million years,’” she said in an interview back in 2016. “But we went out to see “Man and a Woman” at the movie theater in Philadelphia, and we really hit it off.”
The couple quickly became inseparable. Joe is still as devoted to Jill today as he was all those years ago.
This week, Jill underwent what the White House has called a “common procedure” and Joe took time away from the busiest job in the world and stayed by her side.
When the news broke earlier this week that Jill Biden had been taken to the hospital for a mysterious procedure Biden supporters held their breath waiting for news.
On April 14 the White House confirmed that Jill had undergone a procedure which they labeled “common” and stated that she had “tolerated well.”
Last-minute medical procedures can be frightening and intimidating, but Jill did not go it alone. President Biden quickly rearranged his schedule, which was not a simple task, and went with Jill to the outpatient center. The first couple was at the clinic for a little over two hours.